What Are The 5 Elements Of A Combustible Dust Explosion?

What Are The 5 Elements Of A Combustible Dust Explosion?

30/07/2021 About SpaceVac ATEX Resources 0


  • Combustible Dust
  • Distribution Of Dust Particles
  • Confined Dust Cloud
  • Oxygen
  • Ignition Source

There are five core elements that contribute to a combustible dust explosion. When conducting a risk assessment, look for a fuel source, an ignition source, and an oxidising agent which is as simple as oxygen. When these elements are combined with a high density of dust particles that are confined in an enclosed environment, this creates the risk of a combustible dust explosion.

What Is A Combustible Dust Explosion?

Dust explosions occur when combustible dust is condensed in an enclosed environment. Combustible dust is a collection of fine particles that create a dangerous explosion risk when mixed with oxygen. These conditions form an explosive atmosphere where the dust particles ignite when they come into contact with an ignition source.

The consequences of a dust explosion are disastrous. In the most serious cases, entire buildings are destroyed, anyone inside or within the vicinity of the building could be injured, and there is a high risk of fatalities. To prevent dust explosions from occurring, it’s essential to determine areas of risk within your property. Identifying the five core elements of a combustible dust explosion allows you to implement a solution that reduces the risk of a dust explosion occurring.

The 5 Elements Of A Combustible Dust Explosion

  • Combustible Dust
  • Distribution Of Dust Particles
  • Confined Dust Cloud
  • Oxygen
  • Ignition Source

Combustible Dust

Combustible dust is fine particles that when exposed to an ignition source present an explosion risk in specific conditions. These conditions are the other four elements that combine to cause a combustible dust explosion. Combustible dust poses a risk to many industries, as a wide range of materials can become combustible.

Agricultural products, metals, rubber, wood, and plastics all can contribute to a combustible dust explosion. There are many more examples that highlight the importance of preventative action against combustible dust. Often, working practices create combustible dust and this cannot be avoided. This is where you need to use ATEX cleaning equipment to remove these hazardous materials safely and effectively.

Distribution of Dust Particles

It takes a build-up of combustible dust particles in an enclosed environment to cause an explosion. When these particles are distributed and dispersed across a confined area, this is another step towards a combustible dust explosion. Prevent the build-up of dust particles with regular cleaning of the workplace.

The removal of combustible dust needs to be completed using specialist ATEX equipment. ATEX tools allow operators to remove combustible dust from the safety of the ground, and ensure a spark-free operation. When preventing the dispersion of dust particles it’s essential to remove an ignition source. All ATEX tools are specially designed and constructed to prevent the risk of a spark being created and causing a combustible dust explosion.

Confined Dust Cloud

All the core elements of a combustible dust explosion need to be confined within an enclosed environment to lead to combustion. Installing a ventilation system is a solution that prevents a dust cloud from building up in a confined area.

Some workplaces, however, may not be able to do this due to work requirements. In this case, it’s important to use an ATEX vacuum or other form of ATEX cleaning equipment to remove any dust clouds in the workplace.


For an explosion to occur, there needs to be an oxidising agent in the air. Every explosion needs to have a source of oxygen to occur. Removing oxygen from an enclosed environment is not safe, so to prevent combustible dust explosions you should focus on safe dust particle removal, using ATEX cleaning equipment.

Ignition Source

An ignition source is a catalyst for a combustible dust explosion. Unfortunately, staff and employers are often unaware a hazard exists when a combustible dust explosion occurs. They didn’t know that dust particles had built up in an enclosed environment and allowed a source of ignition to occur.

Ignition sources range from hot surfaces and embers to electrostatic discharges. They can even occur due to the cleaning equipment staff use to remove combustible dust. ATEX cleaning equipment guarantees a spark-free operation that ensures no ignitions occur as a result of the cleaning tools used.

Why Every Business Needs ATEX Cleaning Equipment

ATEX Tools are safe to use in explosive atmospheres and remove combustible dust effectively. They’re efficient for staff to operate, and have several accessories available that enable operators to adapt the system to match their requirements.

There are two main reasons why ATEX cleaning equipment is the safest tool available in the industry: operators can clean high-level areas from the ground, and the system guarantees a spark-free operation. Any organisation with a workplace that produces combustible dust needs ATEX tools.

Atex vacuum brush

SpaceVac ATEX Tools

At SpaceVac, we supply innovative and unique ATEX cleaning equipment that offers safe and effective cleaning in explosive atmospheres. Any business where combustible dust builds up should invest in an ATEX tool to ensure the safety of their staff and workplace.

There are five ATEX-certified systems that offer a range of options for different operating environments and price points – from our entry-level Lite system to the Pro and Ultra systems designed for heavy-duty use by experienced operators. All of these unique systems are fully conductive, are guaranteed to ensure a spark-free operation, and allow users to clean high-level areas from the safety of the ground. SpaceVac’s ATEX range can also be accessorised with a variety of unique tools, allowing you to match the system to your cleaning requirements.

Remove the risk of combustible dust explosions. Get in touch with Spacevac’s expert teams and discover the best ATEX tools for your workplace.

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